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missing suggestion boxWe’ve all said it. “Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll pass your feedback along.”

Like most companies, you probably get a lot of feature requests and feedback. Tweeted at you, emailed to your support address, maybe even over the phone.

Even for customer-centric companies, this can be overwhelming. You might take the big gripes to your boss, but for little things (“it’s hard to read the text in the advanced settings section”) you may nod and say “thank you, we’ll pass this feedback on”…and then it disappears. Maybe you just don’t think it’s valuable enough to bug staff about it, or maybe you just forget about it after answering the bazillion other support tickets you have to answer. For you, it’s a tiny drop in a bucket and it doesn’t seem like a huge deal if you let it go.

But this adds up. It snowballs. 6 months later that user is suspicious that you didn’t listen. A year later they know you didn’t. Two years later, any user that’s been through the “we’ll pass your feedback along” rigamarole stops trusting you altogether, even when you’re telling the truth. Want to know how that feels? Go to the DMV. Most of the people who work there are probably doing their job correctly and telling the truth, but over the years they’ve generated such ill will that we don’t believe a word out of their mouths.

(Even worse, you’re ruining it for other companies. Because of this white lie of “we’ll pass your feedback along”, that phrase no longer means anything except “please go away and stop talking to me”. Companies who DO actually pass that feedback along now have to work harder to convince their users of this.)

Want to keep your users’ trust? You have to work harder when they give you feedback.

feedback response danny bloomfield

 

Nobody ever said this was easy. But if you can follow through, your customers will be much more likely to stick around. After all, it’s very easy for them to switch to a competitor.


Colorful suggestion box photo courtesy of Lindsay Bremner.

Suggestion box photo courtesy of Ariel Dovas.

Evan Hamilton

About Evan Hamilton